[Csnd] MAX/MSP

I’m already comfortable with coding in general and have some CSound experience. My teacher is encouraging me to try an electronic composition next and he uses MAX/MSP. I’m pretty sure I’ll be happier with the coding style in Csound (versus graphical box wiring), but is there any reason that MAX/MSP provides an advantage?

Do they even do similar things?

-Mike

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There is a great deal of functional overlap and you can do “real computer music” with either system.

I don’t think learning one system will get in the way of learning another system at a later time.

My impression is that Max is taught because students expect to work in studios or on films or games where Max is often used for sound design.

Then the teachers start using Max because they have to teach it.

I’ve heard great stuff made with Max. If you want to do procedural coding in Max you can do that as well, by writing external objects in a variety of languages, or by using objects that host and run other languages, including Javascript and Csound, although the status of the current csound~ object is not clear to me.

All that said I use only Csound and see no reason so far to change.

For me the biggest reason of all to use Csound over all other audio frameworks is because it can be deployed ridiculous amount of platforms. A simple Csound instrument can be run on all major desktop platforms, all mobile platforms, inside any DAW in various plugin formats, in browsers, in game engines, on RPi’s, Apple Watches, Eurorack modules, etc. The scope for deployment with Csound is absolutely astonishing.

but is there any reason that MAX/MSP provides an advantage?

I have used Max/MSP a bit, and Puredata, which is fundamentally similar, a great deal in the past. I would say that depending on requirements, advantages could be:

  • Standardised singular/core GUI - it is easy to make user-friendly GUIs in Max that will run on everyone’s copy of Max, and there is a lot of support for various UI objects. Csound has various options - Cabbage really revolutionises this area, and can contend to some extent with Max, but you need Cabbage to run Cabbage patches. FLTK widgets are kind of core, but then don’t run on Mac, etc, and can’t compete with what Max can do, etc.
  • Following from the above, graphics capabilities ie with Max’s Jitter.
  • Integration with Ableton Live via Max4Live. There is Csound For Live, but then that in turn uses Max4Live as far as I know.
  • Some people might prefer closed source/commercial software (eg support contracts etc)
  • I get the impression more people probably use Max/MSP than any other audio domain specific language, so the forums/community support etc will probably be very active.

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Yeah its the way that csound can be embedded into and used by other
programs and games. I started out on csound rather than max as an art
student because I had already learned pascal and java on my own so the
programmatic approach made more sense to me.

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They are very complimentary. I would highly recommend learning at least one of Pure Data and Max in addition to Csound, regardless of which you end up doing most of your work in, you will be a better computer musician and programmer for exploring and understanding both paradigms. For me, using things like Csound inside Max or Pd is the best of both worlds. The Cipriani and Giri books are the best intro btw.

These days my stack is Max and Max in Ableton Live, with Scheme for Max (my project) doing the event programming, and Csound doing some audio programming that I like to do better in an event oriented text language. But Pd is also great if you want to run on a small linux machine, or just stick to open source.

HTH!
iain

Re the current status of the Csound object for Max: I am porting Victor’s modern csound~ object for Pd to Max. It’s just taking a while because we are doing a house sell/buy/move which ate 2 months of life, but it is moving along. I expect to have it done by 2022 as I have a lot more time in December. In the meantime, the old csound~ object does work, it’s just such a large collection of legacy code that rewriting it to the modern csound API is warranted.

iain

Iain,

Good luck with the sale and the port!
A current version of csound~ for Max will be incredible and incredibly important.

Thanks for taking on this project.

Dr. Richard Boulanger
Professor
Electronic Production and Design
Berklee College of Music

Dear Iain,

this is great news!
many thanks!

Best regards,

Michele

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Thanks Michele and Dr B. I’m pushing out my release of Scheme for Pure Data over the next week for a paper but will be getting back to the csound object after that. Thanks for the encouragement! :slight_smile: